Archive for August, 2013

Learn from the Dying, Live without Regrets

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

While regrets are things that most of us don’t want, they can actually be good. They are teachers from the past for the decisions of today and tomorrow. They tell us what we would have liked to have done differently if we had known then what we know now. One of the greatest regrets people who are dying have is wishing they had been more present to life to have made different choices like not being so focused on other’s expectations, spending more time with close relationships, not working so hard, having the courage to express feelings, and not buying into the negativity so much and choosing happiness.

But life is routine and routine is resistance to choice. But that can all change for us right now.

To live in the future without regrets, think about what in life are you allowing to be routine? As soon as we see the routine, we step into a space of awareness, a “choice point” to live the life we want to live, without regrets.

Have you allowed…

Your relationships to become routine?

Living up to other’s expectations to become routine?

The kiss of your loved ones to become routine?

The suppression of your feelings to become routine?

The sight and smell of a rose to become routine?

The taste of good food to become routine?

Working too hard to become routine?

Reading the words on this screen to become routine?

 

The fact is we can stop, take a deep breath and choose right now for life not to be routine, we can choose to see the wonders of everyday life.

 

You can choose…

To stay in touch with friendships and family. To not settle for surface connections and make quality connections with people.

To make the cliché “Stop and smell the roses” a real thing in your life.

To stop living up to other’s expectations and begin living life on your terms.

To take breaks from work at times to tend to other things that matter.

To express your feelings if to stand up for yourself or others in the face of injustice or tell a person, “I love you.”

To relate to the difficult things in life differently and incline your mind toward the good in life.

To take the words in this blog post to heart and see how to put it into practice in your life.

 

 In 365 Daily Now Moments it is written:

Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

What are those little things you can be on the lookout for today? A hug, a smile, the functionality of your body?

Sometimes it’s good to sweat the small stuff.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

Monday, August 19th, 2013

I’ve always been interested in the wisdom of our elders and often do a practice with students and clients when they’ve seemed to veer off the path of what truly matters in their lives. I ask them to project themselves forward many years from now looking back onto this very moment right now, what do they wish they would’ve done? Bronnie Ware is an Australian Nurse who spent many years working in palliative care caring for those who were dying. She eventually published a book called the The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Regrets can be seen as something that’s good if they give us insight into what we can change today for the better. Here are the Top 5. Use them as north star to help guide your actions in the days that follow toward an even more fulfilling life. Although we can veer off the path, when we notice the star, we can always come back to it.

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    From the time we’re born we’re looking to our parents to teach us the rules of this world and to guide our expectations about how we should or shouldn’t act. Looking to our culture or other people to guide how we should dress, speak, act, and even what kind of profession we should be in is common. What would it look like to get in touch with what seems right to you and live an authentic life?

  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. 

    As the saying goes, no one ever kicked themselves on their deathbeds for missing a day of work. Sometimes we work too much out of routine, other times from other people’s expectations and sometimes as an addictive behavior to avoid discomfort. Are there things that may be more valuable to pay attention to where we can loosen up on working so hard and pay attention to things that nourish us more?

  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. 

    Whether it’s at work, in a friendship or a partnership we make the snap judgment to bite our tongue rather than being assertive. Standing in an authentic life means becoming aware of and expressing our feelings. This may be a missed opportunity to let others know we love them that can create deeper connections or maybe it’s a time when someone hurts us and we stay silent out of fear. Learning how to become more aware of our emotions and express them in a skillful way can help us feel more connected, self-reliant and happy.

  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

    There’s no question. At the crux of feeling happy and fulfilled in life is having nurturing relationships. There are so many ways to stay connected nowadays through text, chat, email, social media, the phone and of course face to face. How might you make it a priority to make relationships an integral part of your day to day life?

  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

    Bronnie Ware said that many people didn’t notice until the end of life that happiness is a choice. With awareness we can make conscious choices about what nourishes us and what depletes us. What beliefs we want to invest in and which ones we don’t. We may get hooked into states of high stress, anxiety, depression and even trauma reactions, but at some point we get to choose how we want to relate to them and this may help us ride them with more grace. Maybe it’s time to play a little more, what makes you happy?

Take a moment to look back once again at these five regrets people have had and see where you can begin integrating these more into your life starting today.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

7 Tips to Create the Essential Habit of Rest

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

When someone is training for a marathon or any regular exertion of physical exercise, any credible trainer would emphasize the importance of resting the body. If you don’t rest the body, the probability goes up for injury. Our brains run in exactly the same way. All day long most of us are doing some sort of mental gymnastics – problem solving, planning for the future, and putting out fires. Just like our bodies, if our mind doesn’t get proper rest (besides good sleep), we are likely to burnout with symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. 

Here are 7 tips to get in the habit of putting your brain to rest:

(Note: If you catch the judgment, I’ve heard of these before, check in to see when the last time you did them was. If it’s been a while, make a plan now).

  1. Go Out in Nature – Go out and visit nature regularly, whether it’s a forest, the ocean, a park, or by a lake. Absorb the relaxing surrounding.
  2. Engage a Hobby – Consider what a purposeless stress-less hobby might be. Maybe it’s drawing, painting, or working on some form of mechanics. It can be sailing, learning the guitar, or learning about horses. Whatever it is, make some space for it.
  3. Do a Mindful Check-in – Take a minute a few times a day to just pause and rest. Do a mindful check-in where you note how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. Breathe and let go. See the explanation of this practice through a clip of an interview at Psychotherapy Networker here).
  4. Read a Book – Allow this to be something you’re interested in for its sake, not something you have to read for work. Turn off the television from time to time and read for fun.
  5. Listen to Music – Lay down, close your eyes and just listen to music. This can be your favorite music from years ago, or set a Pandora station and just be surprised by what comes up.
  6. Take a Bath – Often times an overlooked favorite. If you have a bathtub, take a nice long bubble bath, put on a candle and some music if you like, just relax with a little you time.
  7. Count Your Blessings – This is also a good way to settle your brain at the end of the day, look back and see what in the day you were grateful for. The notice how you feel. What would life be like if this was more automatic?

These are just a few to get you started.

You may have your own ways of bringing more rest into your life. If so, share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

Escape the Unhappiness Trap

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

bling

We are a culture driven by the motto “more is better.” If we turn on the television or glance over at the magazines at the checkout line in any grocery store, we see the sensational “bling” and the “more” we are looking for.

Our minds automatically say, “If I just had a bigger house, a partner, more money, a snow cone, etc., then I’d be happy.”

Waltor Landor accurately said, “As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.”

But from time to time we’ve heard this notion before, so why do we keep falling into this unhappiness trap, what’s wrong with us? 

The fact is it’s not our fault that we keep falling into it. From the time we’re born until this moment right now our brain is continually taking information in as a means to make decisions in the present moment and anticipate the future. It’s wired to make us secure and comfortable.

As long as we can see and hear it’s impossible to ignore the commercials and bill boards that tell us we’ll gain more social acceptance and be happier if we have their products. The brain references it’s hierarchy of needs and says, “Yes, social belonging is fundamental so I guess I do need that.”

The brain makes thousands of calculations like this each day and drives our snap judgments about what to pay attention to and what actions to take.

Companies on the internet know this that’s why there is an entire industry that plays on the our subconscious strategies to get us to feel compelled to look at and feel like we need to buy certain things.

But the fact is, thousands of years of experience and all the world’s wisdom traditions keep telling us that more isn’t better. Contentment lies in being okay with you we have.

This isn’t an anti-capitalism blog, it’s an emotional freedom blog. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong to strive to make a lot of money and we don’t need to feel guilty for buying new things, it’s just that we don’t need to be enslaved by the current that is pushing us to do it at the expense of our happiness.  

Escaping this unhappiness trap will be a lifelong dance, so forgive yourself when you notice you’ve fallen in and in that moment of awareness ask yourself, “What am I grateful for,” shifting the focus to being content with what you have. Take this awareness into the days that follow.

Remember Waltor Landor’s words ”As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.”

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Man wearing bling image available from Shutterstock.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com